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Business news in Berkeley
- New hair extension and wig business opens in Vine Street Salon
- A second Green Yogi studio opens on Telegraph Avenue
- Independently owned bookstore has beaten the odds for 40 years
- Ferry service returns from Berkeley Marina
- Longtime art supply store packs it in
- Artists paint, draw and donate for Ukraine
- A pop-up and auction featuring ‘pysanky,’ Ukrainian eggs, for peace
Open North Shattuck
New hair extension and wig business opens in Vine Street Salon
Carolyn Wright is a walking advertisement for her business. One day she’s a brunette with a ponytail on top of her head. Another day, she’s rocking blond braids that fall to her waist.
“I like new things and being versatile with my hair,” she said.
Wright is a hairstylist who, starting in March, brought her custom hair extension and wig-making business, Ctrendy Hair, to Vine Street Salon, where she has been cutting, coloring and curling hair of all types, from straight to tightly coiled, for the past two-and-a-half years.
Wright, 30, started doing extensions while she was still a student at Hercules High School.
“What I love most about extensions is the instant gratification you get in length and density,” she said.
Wright ended up going to cosmetology school, at Paul Mitchell in Pleasant Hill, where she honed her extension and wig-making skills, graduating in 2018.
At a school job fair, Vine Street Salon recruited her into its assistant program, allowing her to further her skills while offering free cuts and color to the public. (Full disclosure: she once cut my hair.)
“They helped me build my clientele as far as coloring and cutting and curling,” Wright said.
The “curling” she’s referring to is DevaCurl, a dry-hair cutting method in which she’s certified. For those who want to straighten their curls, she also does “thermal styling” with a flat iron.
Custom extensions start at $200 for a sew-in and $300 for three bundles of hair, which can be real or synthetic. Wright also creates custom wigs using real hair, not only for fun but for clients who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy or illness. Prices start at $250 for a standard wig in a bob.
“Carolyn’s service brings a lot to the salon,” said Lora Batiste, one of the salon’s owners. “You might have someone who does extensions, but it’s pretty unique in your average salon. And she hand makes the wigs, which is also unique. She’s not just buying a wig from a company, she’s hand-making them and sewing them herself. That in itself is pretty special.”
A month into her extension and wig business, Wright is pleased with its growth.
“Everyone who’s ever tried my extensions or wigs always comes back for a second install,” she said. “Women love long, luscious hair and I am the girl for all that!”
A second Green Yogi studio opens on Telegraph Avenue
Nasiem Sanjideh opened her first Green Yogi at 1652 Martin Luther King Jr. Way five years ago as an eco-friendly yoga studio that uses homemade cleaning supplies, compostable cups and napkins and mats containing recycled materials. It does not specialize in one particular style of yoga but does emphasize the tradition’s mental and spiritual aspects.
Sanjideh continues that approach in her latest location on Telegraph Avenue, which opened Jan. 1.
“When you have a better relationship with yourself, the better you can relate to other people,” Sanjideh said.
Sanjideh’s perspective is not surprising, given her background. She’s a behavioral therapist with a yoga certification and additional training that combines mental health, yoga and social justice, so creating community is important to her. Though Sandjide’s passionate about yoga and has used some of its concepts in her work, she does not teach at her studios. Instead, she runs the business and works at a Marin rehabilitation center for youth.
Her partner in the Telegraph studio, Pete Guinosso, a yoga instructor, is the one who’s on site. He shares her belief in nurturing yoga’s mental and spiritual aspects. After yoga training with Ana Forrest in Los Angeles, he has worked with many Buddhist meditation teachers over the years. Guinosso’s taught at the same location since 2011, when it was Yoga Tree, until it closed in 2020. Before Yoga Tree, the building was home to Yoga Mandala.
Green Yogi Telegraph occupies the entire 7,000-square-foot building, with two large studios and smaller rooms for bodywork and other healing modalities. The lobby is dotted with ottomans made from Persian rugs, a nod to Sanjideh’s heritage, which she plans to turn into an event space featuring poetry nights and live music to build a community of what Guinosso calls “radical inclusivity.”
“I hope to create an alternative style of yoga space that breaks free of the belief that yoga is for a specific form of flexibility or strength level and create more spaces where people can self-reflect and go inward,” Sanjideh said.
“A place where you can be yourself,” Guinosso added, “a place that feels like home.”
In the spotlight Fourth Street
Independently owned bookstore has beaten the odds for 40 years
Sally and Goerge Kiskaddon, who founded the Builders Booksource 40 years ago this week, recount its history the way long-married couples like themselves recall the highlights of their relationship.
They squabble over dates, reminisce about shops that came and went and marvel at how their independent bookstore catering to the design and construction industries has survived — despite a recession, Amazon and a pandemic — while others have disappeared.
“We didn’t know anything about bookselling,” Sally Kiskaddon said. “We thought we could work together and we managed to make that happen.”
The Bay Area natives founded the bookstore because they saw a need. At the time, a DIY boom was under way and George Kiskaddon was flipping houses, doing some of the physical labor himself, though he had no formal training in design or construction. He learned through books.
“There were architectural bookstores and building bookstores, but nobody was combining the two, even though architecture and construction are mutually dependent,” George Kiskaddon said, “We wanted to bring those two things together.”
Sally Kiskaddon, meanwhile, had been a teacher. They had been married a year when they considered the possibility of working together, which remained an idea until they stopped at Plumbing & Things on Fourth Street to buy a fixture.
“Jerry Tinkess was sitting outside his store, Textiles by Design, drinking wine and chatting with another shop owner. We were going inside to look. He said, ‘If you see anything you like, leave your money on the counter,’” Sally Kiskaddon said. “I thought, I would like to be a part of a community like this.”
On April 3, 1982, the Kiskaddons opened Builders Booksource into a new 950-square-foot shop at 1801 Fourth St., focusing on architecture, construction, engineering, urban planning and interior design, “everything that dealt with the built environment,” George Kiskaddon said, “plus tons of books for the do-it-yourselfer.”
Because the store attracted a large regional following, it moved into an almost 3,000-square-foot space at 1817 Fourth St. almost five years later. But the 2008 recession combined with the advent of Amazon’s online selling set the owners back.
In 2012 the couple gave up half their space. Two years later, Sally Kiskaddon began working as a librarian at Berkeley’s Black Pine Circle School.
Around 2017, the store became more of a general bookstore, adding fiction and nonfiction. The store also takes orders, which are usually filled in a couple of days.
The couple’s two children, adults now, have no interest in taking over the family business.
“They just don’t see the life that bookstores used to have,” Sally Kiskaddon said.
As a librarian, she tries to convey the value of a physical book to her students, which will likely disappear within their lifetimes.
“I make them hold a book. Look at it. Open the pages. Stick their noses in it,” she said. “I want them to know why books are so loved.”
In the Spotlight West Berkeley
Ferry service returns from Berkeley Marina
Tideline Marine Group resumed its ferry service from the Berkeley Marina to San Francisco last month, offering two morning and two evening routes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. More departures will be added if demand grows.
Tickets are $16 each way ($140 for a 10 pack) and commuter benefit cards (Edenred, Wageworks, etc.) are accepted.
Right now, reservations are suggested before arriving. Bikes are allowed to go along for the ride, too. Tideline Marine Group, K Dock, Berkeley Marina. Phone: 415-339-0196. Connect via Facebook and Instagram or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLOSING DOWNTOWN BERKELEY
Longtime art supply store packs it in
Artist & Craftsman Supply, a Portland, Maine-based, employee-owned company, is scheduled to close on April 20 after more than two decades on Shattuck Avenue. Store manager Andrew Williams would not say why, but the pandemic likely administered the final blow.
A 40% off sale is underway and prices may go down further.
The news comes after a spate of recent Artist & Craftsman Supply closings in recent years. In 2016, the chain was one of the largest art material suppliers in the U.S., with 34 locations. Now it has 24. The chain’s San Francisco store in Jackson Square closed in 2020 due to the high cost of rent and dwindling demand for art supplies, according to Hoodline.com.
The store sells paints, paper, brushes or print-making supplies, as well as puzzles, stickers, beads and jewelry-making supplies. The Berkeley location attracted a core of artists who have been customers for decades, some of whom bought in bulk, Williams said. Teachers and students from local schools also patronized the store.
“People really cared about this store and have told us they’re sorry to see us go,” Williams said. “It did have an impact on the city. That’s a consolation.”
In the spotlight Gilman District
Artists paint, draw and donate for Ukraine
After doom scrolling the news about the invasion of Ukraine on her cell phone, artist Mona Chiang felt so frustrated she reached out to some friends on a group text, which included Julie McCray, the owner of Shoh gallery. Chiang wondered what they could do to help.
“What if a bunch of artists came together to do something good?” Chiang said. “Together we can make a greater impact.”
A day later they came up with the idea for the SF Bay Area Artists for Ukraine Fundraiser Exhibit, which ran March 9-19 at Shoh’s Gilman Street location. (Shoh also has a satellite at 1778 Fourth St.) Online sales of select works will continue through April 10.
The original goal was to raise $5,000 for World Central Kitchen, chef Jose Andres’ disaster relief organization that is now providing meals to Ukrainian refugees. The exhibition raised $10,000 in a week and then set a new goal of $20,000. As of Monday, more than $17,000 was raised.
McCray was surprised by how quickly she heard from artists.
“Artists from all over the Bay Area were bringing in works,” she said. “Five days after putting out the word, we had a show.”
Instead of the typical 25-30 pieces featured in one of her gallery’s three rooms, the call for artwork brought in almost 80 pieces, spanning a variety of media.
In a typical show, artists get a 50% cut of each piece they sell. In this case, the gallery asked artists to donate between 10% and 100% of the sale price. Shoh then kicked in 30% of the price. For each sale, 40% to 80% of the price goes to World Central Kitchen.
“I think it hit a chord because we were all feeling very impotent. Being able to do this made all of us feel a lot better,” McCray said. “At least we’ll feed some people.”
In the spotlight Elmwood
A pop-up and auction featuring ‘pysanky,’ Ukrainian eggs, for peace
Legend has it that as long as pysanky — the eggs Ukranians make for Easter — are decorated, good will prevail over evil throughout the world. So the eggs became the perfect symbol to create and sell in another Ukrainian fundraiser in Berkeley.
This one is organized by Michelle Hlubinka, whose Czech parents fled Communist Czechoslovakia after the Prague Spring, and Casondra Sobieralski and Marcie Gutierrez, both of whom are half Eastern European and grew up in a Slavic immigrant community in Pennsylvania. They’re calling the fundraiser “Peaceanky: Pysanky for Peace.”
“Our idea was to make the eggs as art therapy, spend time together engaged in this folk art and sell what we made as a benefit for Ukraine,” said Hlubinka.
Gutierrez, an Oakland architect who also teaches pysanky, converted her Oakland backyard into an egg-making workshop on March 13 and 20, in which 28 women made 64 eggs.
They can be viewed in the window of the former Urban Remedy on College Avenue through April 10. The eggs can be purchased in an online silent auction on eBay, which will close on April 3. All proceeds benefit Nova Ukraine. The goal is $5,000.
“I just wanted to make something beautiful in the face of something so horrible,” said Hlubinka.
Peaceanky, 2946 College Ave., Berkeley.